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Author Topic:  National New Yorker Restoration
Alan Brookes


From:
Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 9 Dec 2009 8:38 am     Reply with quote

I just bought what's left of this New Yorker on eBay for $66. It's going to be quite a restoration.









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Tom Pettingill


From:
California, USA (deceased)
Post Posted 9 Dec 2009 8:51 am     Reply with quote

Now there is a man that likes a challenge!
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Brad Bechtel


From:
San Francisco, CA
Post Posted 9 Dec 2009 10:53 am     Reply with quote

I thought of you when I saw this on eBay. I wish you good luck. If anyone could make this playable again, it would be you.
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Rick Hanzlik


From:
Utah, USA
Post Posted 9 Dec 2009 10:58 am     Reply with quote

Good luck with that one. Will you re chrome the bridge parts? looks like a lot of work.
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Steve Branscom


From:
Pacific NW
Post Posted 9 Dec 2009 12:36 pm     Reply with quote

Alan,
I'm really looking forward to the upcoming serial on the New Yorker's restoration. I'm thinking of your Stringmaster restoration commentary and photos.
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Rich Hlaves


From:
Wildomar, California, USA
Post Posted 9 Dec 2009 1:29 pm     Reply with quote

Wow, This one looks like it was submerged, maybe in salt water. Ouch! Hurricane victim?

This will be interesting, best of luck!
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Jay Jessup


From:
Charlottesville, VA, USA
Post Posted 9 Dec 2009 4:22 pm     Reply with quote

Alan,
I have one of those in the seven string version that looks like it was rarely played, even still has the Valco warranty card in the case pocket so if you need pics I need to wait about a week until my daughter gets home from college but could take some and forward them to you then if you think it would be helpful.
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Fred Kinbom


From:
Berlin, Germany, via Stockholm, Sweden.
Post Posted 9 Dec 2009 5:37 pm     Reply with quote

Oh dear - that indeed looks like it's been underwater somewhere. That is a "war years" New Yorker, ca. 1940-42. I had one like it (in decent condition) that I sold - let me know if you need any pics.

Cheers,

Fred
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John Billings


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 10 Dec 2009 5:03 am     Reply with quote

Katrina victim?
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Bill Creller


From:
Saginaw, Michigan, USA
Post Posted 10 Dec 2009 6:51 pm     Reply with quote

That looks like a real project alright. The catalog says they are made of hard maple. That one has the Supro pick up. Don't know if that pickup was better or worse than the models with the other single pickup. You are gonna have fun Alan !! Smile
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Alan Brookes


From:
Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 11 Dec 2009 3:32 pm     Reply with quote


Well, that restoration didn't take long. Came out well, didn't it ? Very Happy

...er, well, actually this is an immaculate New Yorker from my collection. I don't imagine I'm going to get the other one to look like this, but when I saw it on eBay it looked like it was crying out, "Help Me ! Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad ", and who can resist a lady in distress?
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Denny Turner


From:
Northshore Oahu, Hawaii USA
Post Posted 12 Dec 2009 9:14 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't imagine I'm going to get the other one to look like this...


Maybe not; But I bet YOU COULD if you wanted to ! Smile

(Looks do-able to me; And yer a much better Luthifer than I) !
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Bill Creller


From:
Saginaw, Michigan, USA
Post Posted 12 Dec 2009 6:20 pm     Reply with quote

That one in your picture is REALLY NICE Alan!! The bridge/pickup cover is outstanding !! Smile
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Alan Brookes


From:
Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 13 Dec 2009 11:21 am     Reply with quote

Yes Bill. I was lucky enough to buy it a couple of years ago from someone whose Dad had bought it and given up learning how to play it after just an hour or two, and put it away in the closet in its case for forty years. Very Happy
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Alan Brookes


From:
Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 19 Dec 2009 8:34 pm     Reply with quote

I made a start on the restoration today. This is what it looked like when I received it...





As can be seen the serial number is 1932G. Does anyone have any idea what year that makes it ?

It had to come to pieces, so the first thing was to mask off around all the screws, to avoid marking the fingerboard or body in case of a slip...



It certainly looks like a hospital case at this stage. Very Happy

A few hours later and...






Only a few of the screws came out. After taking a few out, which were red rusty and broke off, I inserted a wooden wedge under the finger board and carefully tapped it along. All the screws broke off as I progressed, until the entire fingerboard was off. It's made of metal, by the way.

The smaller screws holding the pickup and control knob had to be drilled out, while I had to take a hacksaw to the two bigger ones. All of the screws were red rusty. I inserted a blade under the black/white plastic and drew it carefully along the body, and it came off quite easily.

I think I can clean up the plastic and cement it back together. If not, I'll cut some new pieces from sheet plastic. I shall fabricate some new parts for the pickup. Tomorrow I shall sand down the body and respray it. It should be black. I don't see restoration of the body being much of a job.

More anon. Very Happy
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Michael Lee Allen


From:
Des Plaines Illinois just NW of ChIraq
Post Posted 19 Dec 2009 8:45 pm     Reply with quote

REMOVED

Last edited by Michael Lee Allen on 27 Feb 2011 2:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jon Bathmaker


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post Posted 20 Dec 2009 4:36 am     Red Stringmaster Reply with quote

Alan,
Do you plan to buy the red 3 neck and save her from a hard life ?

I would if I could but I can't and don't have the time if I did. Winking

Regards,
Jon
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Alan Brookes


From:
Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 20 Dec 2009 10:50 am     Re: Red Stringmaster Reply with quote

John Bathmaker wrote:
...Do you plan to buy the red 3 neck and save her from a hard life ?...
No, I thought about it, and I could even convert it back to a Quad because I have a spare 2nd neck, but I have too many projects on already and the price is too high for a long-term restoration. Also, I'm not particularly keen on Quads as they take up too much space and you have to lean too far forward when playing the far neck.
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Alan Brookes


From:
Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 20 Dec 2009 5:31 pm     Reply with quote

Today I sanded down the body. The dirt and decayed metal on the fingerboard couldn't be removed chemically, so I sanded down the fingerboard, too. It looks good in bare metal, but I shall spray it black and pick out the frets in white as it was originally. I've had little success cleaning the plastic so I may repray it.



Since then I've also put a first coat of black on the fingerboard and the underneath of the body. I had to stop work because it started to rain, and I always spray outside, under the deck.

I can't understand why someone in the past had stripped this instrument down to its bare wood. I would have thought that one of the main features of the New Yorker was that it was designed in Art Deco style, not as polished wood. Rolling Eyes

I must admit, since I already have a New Yorker in the traditional black, I did consider finishing it in a different color.

I shall be interested to hear if the pickup still works.
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Clyde Mattocks


From:
Kinston, North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 20 Dec 2009 5:51 pm     Reply with quote

My hats off to you for even undertaking this one, Alan. It looks like you've got a grip on it already.
I'm anxious to see how this one turns out.
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Jon Bathmaker


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post Posted 20 Dec 2009 7:19 pm     Reply with quote

Alan Brookes wrote:
Quote:
No, I thought about it, and I could even convert it back to a Quad because I have a spare 2nd neck, but I have too many projects on already and the price is too high for a long-term restoration.

I corresponded with the seller (Matt at Rocking Robin, nice guy) 'cos I figured he'd never get the $500 opening bid. Was I wrong ! But I agree with you Alan, the price is way high. (That doesn't mean that I wouldn't pay the $1K if I had it Winking) Sadly, I'm afraid that it will probably be broken up for parts.

Steve Howe (YES, that Steve Howe) has a blonde Mk. I Quad that he thinks was once Leon McAulife's and has an album cover with a picture of Leon with the guitar. Leon must have flogged it when he got the red one.

Best,
Jonny B.
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Tom Pettingill


From:
California, USA (deceased)
Post Posted 22 Dec 2009 10:23 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
I shall be interested to hear if the pickup still works.

What are your plans for fixing all the heavy pitting / corrosion? The pics look like its pretty far gone.
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Alan Brookes


From:
Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 22 Dec 2009 6:18 pm     Reply with quote

I might fabricate new parts. What gives it the New Yorker tone are the windings and the magnets. Those are reusable.

If the worst comes to the worst I might put a different pickup on it. After all, there's no way this instrument can be restored to its original specification. Apart from anything else, the potentiometer is wasted, together with the condensers, etc. They're all going to have to be replaced with modern parts, and the pickup cover was originally made of molded Bakelite, which is impossible to replicate. I also have to replicate the New Yorker nameplate missing from the side.
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Fred Kinbom


From:
Berlin, Germany, via Stockholm, Sweden.
Post Posted 23 Dec 2009 3:28 am     Reply with quote

Alan Brookes wrote:
and the pickup cover was originally made of molded Bakelite, which is impossible to replicate. I also have to replicate the New Yorker nameplate missing from the side.


Alan, these "war years" New Yorkers had wooden pickup covers (painted black) and there was no nameplate on the side of the early models. Check out this thread:

http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=117255

It contains several pics on the ca. 1941 one (like yours but in decent condition) I had and sold, and other pics and spec info about the variations of the New Yorker through its 30 years in production.

Cheers,

Fred
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Alan Brookes


From:
Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 23 Dec 2009 4:10 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for bringing that to my attention, Fred. I must have seen it before since I commented on it last year, but I'd completely forgotten it. I was wondering what I was going to do about the pickup cover, but fabricating one from wood is going to be easy. Very Happy
I plan on working on it again tomorrow. It's going to need several more coats of paint, and several light sandings between coats, so I hope the rain keeps away.
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